One of the longest relationships I have ever had is with Facebook. I fell for it over 15 years ago and it has been constant in my life ever since. Although we have both changed over the years — there is no poking anymore (!) — it has remained a faithful companion.
Facebook has not only recorded my day-to-day activities but allowed me to share major milestones like my wedding and arrival of my children. It even held no judgement as I let loose with the odd ferocious rant. And of course Facebook hooked me in with the ‘social’ part of what makes it a great social media site. I can easily catch up with old friends, follow others on their travels and talk to people all over the world. When we were all stuck inside during the pandemic, reading and relaying funny memes on Facebook helped me to simply get by each day.
Other social media sites have come and gone over the years. I dabbled with Pinterest, TikTok and Snapchat (or whatever it is called). Until recently, I had relationships with LinkedIn and Twitter. Very soon, Instagram will be ousted too. But Facebook was my first and it will be my last.
However, this long-term relationship has definitely gone a bit stale. Checking into Facebook is a habit that no longer makes me happy. After the past couple of atrocious years, I want to set up 2023 to be a truly magical year. One of the main keys to that is to eradicate the socials from my life. But it is so incredibly difficult!
Here are three reasons why I am breaking up with Facebook (and why it seems so hard) …
1) Spend More Time with the People I Love
My eldest turned double digits this year and has just finished primary (elementary) school. It is such a cliché but my children are growing up extraordinarily fast. Instead of watching them, playing with them and being present with them, I often have my head down, scrolling through the lives of kind-of-friends and almost-strangers.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
I am missing out on my tiny humans being kids. Soon they will be obnoxious tweens, lumbering teens and young adults who don’t want their mama around. I need to spend time with them right now.
If it is a choice between hanging out with my children and hanging out on Facebook, it should be a no-brainer, so why does this seem so hard? To be honest, sometimes being with my children is, well … boring. Listening to my son talk about Minecraft or helping my daughter to paint rocks is not the most thrilling use of my time. But there is always something new and exciting going on in Facebook land.
I guess it is all about the dopamine hit and the algorithms dragging you back and that makes me even more determined to break up with Facebook. I don’t want to be a rat in a cage at the beck and call of bots. I want to laugh with my children, resurrect date nights with my husband and talk on the phone with my mama.
2) Spend More Time Doing Things I Love
If I counted up the hours and hours I have spent on social media over the years, I could have learned to play the piano, become proficient in Spanish, crocheted a blanket or taken up golf. I don’t want to do those any of those things but the point is that I really did have the time to!
What I want to do more than anything is to read and write more books. Falling into a good book is one of the primary pleasures of my life and writing is a creative outlet that has grown me as a person and allowed me to contribute to the world.
Why would I want to view fleeting posts, stories, videos or reels when I could read or write something that would provide considerably more satisfaction? It really shouldn’t be this hard, should it?
To be really honest — and I am letting it all hang out here — a lot of is it a fear that if I am not on the socials then nobody will buy my books. There I said it. I mean they are really good books, I am proud of them and would love more people to buy and read them! However, I have never seen a huge connection between my book sales and my social media presence. I guess it helps but how much? Breaking up with Facebook will be hard but I want to view it as an interesting experiment to see if it makes any difference to book sales at all.
In the absence of Facebook in my life, I will be doing the things I really love: reading and writing. I am looking forward to delving into the next doorstop novel or juicy memoir. I will also be letting the creative muse assist with a few picture book ideas plus I will still be here, blogging away into the abyss.
3) Uncover the Life I Love
Over about the same length of time as I have been with Facebook, I have crafted a life I absolutely love. I just feel like I don’t spend much time in it. I have a roof over my head, I am relatively healthy and I am surrounded by people who love me. It is an embarrassment of riches that instead of pretending I shouldn’t have or don’t deserve, I want to participate fully in.
I crave to enjoy real life and not a social media construct of it. I don’t want to go somewhere and think I should take a selfie to post. I want to bask in what is in front of me instead of searching for the next shiny object. So why is this so hard?
Breaking up with Facebook is extremely difficult because of FOMO — fear of missing out. This can be real — some friends only put their event invites on Facebook. There are Facebook groups that I love checking in with including my favorite coaching academy, Wellbeing Warriors and my own Auckland Authors group. Plus some people I only have relationships with because of and on social media so I am afraid that we may lose touch.
There is no doubt that I will be giving up some good things with my decision to break up with Facebook but the alternative is not living the great life I love and that is not an option any longer.
Breaking Up with Facebook
To attain a truly magical year in 2023 I have decided to do something I probably should have done a long time ago — I am breaking up with Facebook. This is so I can spend time, do things and be present in the life I love. However, like a bad boyfriend, Facebook makes this difficult by always being entertaining, making me think I need it to sell books and giving me a very real fear of missing out (FOMO).
This is purely my decision and absolutely no judgement on whatever you want to do. You do you. However, if you want to join me on a year (or longer) of not being on social media, please email me at email@example.com. We can chat to each other there. And if you are in New Zealand and want to catch up in person I would very much love that too.
In the meantime, I will spend less time looking down at my phone and more time looking out at the world. I will be watching the smiles on my children’s faces, reigniting my creativity and enjoying the outdoors without taking any selfies.
I hope to see you in real life too.